I never thought I would do a blog quoting Donald Rumsfeld but here it is. I have been reading Gambling with Armageddon by Martin Sherwin. In the book he quotes Rumsfeld as saying, “There are known knowns;….things we know we know….There known unknown; things we [know we] do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns –the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” I would add to this things a person thinks he or she knows but doesn’t really know. I have found in mediation over the years that most couples have unknown unknowns. Couples often think they have agreed on all the issues in their divorce until we raise unknown unknowns. This does not usually lead to controversy but it does help the couple avoid future problems. Mediating issues which the person thinks he or knows but doesn’t know is more difficult. The skillful mediator must correct the assumption without appearing to take sides or creating an impasse. Sometimes, the mediator must resort to suggesting the couples check with their respective review attorneys. In any event is an issue the mediator can’t avoid. Learn more about mediation at https://www.center-divorce-mediation.com CDM (382) 6/15/21
When discussing paying for education for soon to be ex spouse or children, Veteran benefits are often overlooked as a resource. There are a few programs.
“The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows you to transfer all or some of your unused benefits to your spouse or dependent children. The military determines whether or not you can transfer benefits to your family. Once your service approves your eligibility to transfer your benefits, your dependents can apply for them through the VA.
Any active military member who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill who has less than 16 years service, and
- Has at least six years of service and agrees to serve an additional four years
- Has at least 10 years of service and can’t commit to four more years because of regulation (i.e. High Year Tenure, etc)
You must transfer benefits while on active duty.
If you are eligible to transfer benefits you can transfer them to:
- Your spouse
- One or more of your children
- Any combination of spouse and child
The family member must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) at the time of transfer.” https://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/military-spouse-and-family-educational-assistance-programs.html
“Another program which has a more limited scope is the Survivor’s and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 36 months of education benefits.
These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. To be eligible, you must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
- A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.
- A veteran who died from any cause while they had a VA recognized service-connected disability.
- A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty.
- A service member whom VA determines has a service-connected permanent and total disability and at the time of determination is a military member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment; and is likely to be discharged or released from service for this service-connected disability.
Children must be between the ages of 18 – 26 to get this benefit. If you divorce the veteran your benefits end on the date of divorce. If you are enrolled in apprenticeship or on-the-job training, your payments will be based on how long you have been in the program for.” https://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/military-spouse-and-family-educational-assistance-programs.html
There are also State programs. Arizona has a tuition waiver program that provides eligible veterans or surviving dependents with tuition-free education at any public state university or community college. Applicants must meet one of the following relevant criteria and be accepted into the institution where they’d like to utilize the tuition waiver:
1. A member of the Arizona National Guard who received a Purple Heart Citation on or after September 11, 2001.
2. A former member of the Arizona National Guard who was medically discharged from the Arizona National Guard due to an injury or disability suffered:
a. During status under title 10, United States Code; OR
b. In weekend training status; OR
c. In annual training status; OR
d. In response to a state of emergency declared by the Governor.
3. A person who is a former member of the United States Armed Forces:
a. Who received a Purple Heart Citation; AND
b. Who was a resident of the State of Arizona or was stationed in Arizona at the time of the injury that resulted in the Purple Heart Citation; AND
c. Whose disability rating determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is 50% or more. https://dvs.az.gov/tuition-waiver-and-verification-form
All of these programs should be considered for people who are divorcing and want to help pay for a spouse’s or dependent’s education at no cost.
Learn more about mediation at https://www.center-divorce-mediation.com CDM (381) 5/15/21
I have been involved with Divorce law and procedure for almost 50 years. I have seen many things come and go. It use to be called physical and legal custody and now it is called legal decision making and parenting time. We had advocated and used these terms before the law changed. It use to be assumed that the Mother always got the custody of the children and now there is more and more joint decision making and parenting time. Prior to 1973 there was fault divorce and now there is no fault divorce. It was a sham before this and it was a good change. Pensions were assumed to belong to the person who earned it. Now they are marital property subject to being divided. COBRA changed how health insurance could be used to cover someone with a preexisting condition. People stays married or were legally separated to keep their insurance. Now that has changed again with the Affordable Health Care Act with allows coverage of preexisting conditions. There did not use to be child support guidelines and now we have had them for many years. There use to be very few female attorneys and even fewer female judges and now there are as many female attorneys and as male attorneys and maybe the same for judges. A good thing. The basis for alimony is always in flux. Leave a comment if you can think of other things that have changed.
Learn more about mediation athttps://www.center-divorce-mediation.com CDM (380) 4/15/21
The just passed economic stimulus plan, the American Rescue Plan, provides for more subsidies for buying health insurance and gives more people in various income groups access to these subsidies. We checked on how this might impact our divorcing clients who may be receiving child support and/or spousal maintenance. It turns out that neither child support or spousal maintenance is considered income by the US Government when applying for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. This means that people who thought that they might have too much income to be eligible for a subsidy because they are receiving child support or spousal maintenance might be pleasantly surprised that they qualify for a subsidy.https://www.healthcare.gov/income-and-household-information/income/
Learn more about mediation at https://www.center-divorce-mediation.com CDM (379) 3/11/21
Like many of you, I get a song in my head that I can’t get out. One of the recent songs was the Kingston Trio Song Charlie or the MTA. Full lyrics at https://genius.com/The-kingston-trio-mta-lyrics The song starts out with
“Well, let me tell you of the story of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put ten cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the MTA
Well, did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned (What a pity)
He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
And he’s the man who never returned”
Charlie handed in his dime at the Kendal Square Station
And he changed for the Jamaica PlainWhen the got there the conductor told him, “One More nickel’
Charlie couldn’t get off that train!”
One wonders why there were not ways to get off the train?
Couldn’t Charlie borrow a nickel or if his wife “hands Charlie a sandwich through the open window, why couldn’t she include a nickel?
What does this have to do with divorce mediation? In divorce mediation we problem solve and come up with solutions that were not obvious or were obvious and not considered these solutions.
Learn more about mediation at https://www.center-divorce-mediation.com CDM (378) 1/15/21